MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO (Italy) • The world's best Alpine skier narrowly avoided serious injury when a drone fell to the ground during Tuesday's World Cup slalom.
The drone, being used to film television pictures of the course from above, crashed just centimetres from Austria's Marcel Hirscher, 26, during his second run.
"Heavy air traffic in Italy #crazy #drone #crash #luckyme," wrote the four-time defending overall World Cup champion on his Instagram account.
He had taken a more serious tone after the race.
"This is horrible," he said.
"This can never happen again.
"This can be a serious injury."
Race director Markus Waldner from the governing body International Ski Federation admitted "we narrowly avoided a catastrophe.
"We checked that the drone can only fly in a corridor next to the slope," he said.
"But it flew more and more into the slope."
The incident overshadowed Henrik Kristoffersen's achievement at the resort of Madonna di Campiglio in Italy.
The 21-year-old Norwegian clocked 1min 37.8sec in the floodlit event to beat second-placed Hirscher by 1.25sec.
Another Austrian, Marco Schwarz, completed the podium 1.59sec off the pace.
It was the second straight win in the discipline this season for Kristoffersen, the Olympic slalom bronze medallist from Sochi, following his victory over Hirscher at Val d'Isere in France this month.
Hirscher's second place gave him the overall World Cup lead from Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, with Kjetil Jansrud third and Kristoffersen fourth overall.
Hirscher won the giant slalom at Alta Badia on Sunday ahead of Kristoffersen.
The next World Cup race is a downhill at Santa Caterina on Sunday.